Olympia Legislative Report, February 15, 2013

Washington Clean Tech Alliance

Prepared by:  Boswell Consulting

The fifth week of session has come and gone, and we are heading towards the first committee cutoff scheduled for next Friday, February 22nd.  Any non-budget related bills will need to be passed out of their originating committee by Friday or they will be considered dead for this session.

Many issues were heard in both the House and Senate this week related to Initiative 937.  The House Environment Committee discussed two of Representative John McCoy’s bills, HB 1105 and HB 1106.  HB 1105 closes the current Renewable Energy Investment Cost Recovery Program to new applicants beginning July 1, 2014.  If this bill is passed, it will create a new Renewable Energy Investment Cost Recovery Program on July 1, 2014.  HB 1106 if the Net Metering legislation that would require utilities participating in the new program to sign a 10-year contract for the payment of incentives.  Most of the groups that testified were interested in the new program, but had concerns about the 10-year contract.  Executive action on both of these bills is expected next week in the House Environment Committee.

The Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee dealt with more controversial issues – the bill creating the most stir was Senator Sharon Brown’s bill, SB 5648 (“no buy before need”).  As expected, several utilities testified in support, while the environmental community and the renewables industry testified in opposition, expressing concerns about suppressing additional renewable development in Washington State.

Governor Inslee brought forward a package of proposals this week, including the following concepts:

  • Invest to develop clean energy solutions
  • Invest in clean energy and climate solutions for transportation
  • Extend the electric vehicle fast-charging network across Interstate 90 and Highway 101
  • Support increased production at the state’s biodiesel refineries and oilseed farms
  • Establish a new Center of Excellence Alternative Jet Fuels and Environment at Washington State University
  • Identify actions to achieve our greenhouse gas emissions limits
  • Implement the Yakima River Basin Integrated Water Management Plan

To read more, please go to http://www.governor.wa.gov/news/20130213.aspx.  These proposals are arriving very late in session and it is unclear at this point how much momentum they will generate.

The full report including Bill Tracking can be found here.